Here’s an FYI…you’re all gonna die…

Payton woke me up at 6:50AM today. Dammit. Why? “Dad, can I play San Andreas?” OF COURSE YOU CAN, LEAVE ME ALONE UNTIL AT LEAST 8:00! I made that very clear tonight at bedtime. I’ve been tired all day, even though I fell asleep at one point this morning and had a nap. Today was no school. Payton played PS2 for 3 or so hours straight while Emily slept all morning. Ran some errands, visited the post office, paid the rent, went to the park, had a picnic, played frisbee, went to volleyball practice, Target for groceries…and that’s it.

Not much happening with life lately. That’s why I don’t update the journal too often anymore. The biggest news is that the nearly 6 months of nonstop rain has finally stopped. It’s been really nice out for the past week and there hasn’t been any rain. Today was in the mid 70’s.

In PLA news: I’ve been working on a new podcast project for the past week or so and I should have a new PLA Radio out maybe this week or next. I’ve also done quite a bit of work on the site lately – mostly on the forums.

Somehow I mentioned to Payton the other day, just in passing, something about the Terminator. He seemed interested so I told him all about the storyline of the Terminator movies, how the T-1000 was liquid metal and the time traveling and all that. So finally I just end up downloading it and we all sit down and watch it. I don’t think I’ve seen the kids enjoy a non-kid movie like that in quite some time now. He talked about it a lot today. Once I get my DVDs out of storage, I’ll have to show them the cool deleted scenes. It’s always nice when they’re so into something that I’ve always enjoyed myself.

Podcasts, pictures

Picked up the kids from school, hung around the house for awhile, then rode bikes to the park. I’ve been trying to teach Payton to ride a bike for the past few weeks and he’s getting better. Today he had his first crash, right into a wall. It’s my fault. No crying or anything, though, he just got up and walked the rest of the way to the park. Stayed there for over an hour. Emily and I rode around the block a few times while Payton played with friends. Every time we leave the park, this cat a few blocks away greets us and we pet it for 5 or 10 minutes. It’s Payton’s favorite part about leaving. Today it was there again, as always.

Tonight we did homework, watched Sliders and ate macaroni. The kids are both addicted to the old TV show Sliders these past few weeks. I think I mentioned that in a previous journal entry. All they want to do is watch it. I downloaded all 5 seasons recently so I have them all. They’ll sit and watch 3 or 4 45 minute episodes in a row if I let them. Payton tells me about Sliders dreams he’s had at night and I’ve noticed him naming his lego men after Sliders characters when playing. They’ve been jumping all over the place, watching all the episodes from the different seasons. They’ve probably watched at least 2 full seasons by this point, but completely at random.

Not a whole lot else going on with my life lately. I bought a bike at Target last week but haven’t ridden much by myself yet. Emily and I went around the block a lot over the weekend, though. Been filling up my free time working on podcasts, listening to podcasts and working on the new forums and getting the web site back in full operation since the move to a new server. The new server rules. Everything works, my email forwards properly now, all the PHP works, it’s fast, I have normal access logs again. I wish I’d done this years ago.

I’m really addicted to the podcasting thing still. I’m really enjoying making my shows and listening to others. I can’t believe I’ve already put out 6 episodes in just 2 months with very little effort. Well, okay, 5. You can’t really count the email episode. I’m also spending lots of time finding new podcasts to listen to. I’m completely losing touch with music because of them. Jammie asked if I’d heard the new Eminem song the other day and I had no idea what she was talking about. I need to download that album.

Speaking of podcasts and music…everyone must listen to Re Your Brains RIGHT NOW. I’ve let several people hear this today and everyone loves it. Especially Payton. I’ve probably played it 20 times today. Jonathan Coulton’s website has lots of music on it, but that one’s definitely my favorite.

I haven’t done a dump of my camera phone lately. So here it is…

Me trying to appear even more nerdier than usual in my thrift store shirt a few weeks ago. I was trying to find an address awhile back and found this pond where you could feed fish.
When my ignition stopped working last month, I left my car in McDonald’s parking lot over night. When I came back the next morning, this was on my window. While waiting for the locksmith to arrive, I wrote this on the bottom of it, planning to stick it on their delivery door. But since the manager actually came out and talked to me a short while later, I didn’t.
Drug the kids to the laundrymat with me last week, but since they had tables there we turned it into a pizza party. Snapped this picture earlier today, attempting to give Jammie a little encouragement for her speech in class.
Payton rock climbing at the park today. Emily riding my new bike at the park today.

Puddles and Petals

Emily managed to get some editorial contest thing she did for school published in the local paper. So here it is…

Puddles and petals

If I had to pick between winter and spring, I would pick spring. I would pick spring because it rains and flowers get fed. Later on, when the flowers are fed enough, they grow beautifully.

In spring, there are also puddles to splash in. When you splash in the puddles, you get all wet, but I don’t care. I get to feel the squishy mud beneath my shoes. The mud goes squish, squash, squish, squash.

I like running in the rain with my friend. We run in the grass, laughing while holding our umbrellas. I love spring. Spring gives you a warm feeling inside, and when it rains, you can do a lot of things like splash in puddles and dance in the rain. That is why I like spring better than winter.

newold dishes

Remember that sand Java thingie I was raving about back in December? Well, apparently it’s creator made a new version of it. With Zombies! Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more addictive. Payton has spent at least 3 hours on it today. You just can’t go wrong when you add Zombies to something.

It should be noted that Jammie rules. On Friday, out of nowhere, she sends me a link to a post on the Eugene, Oregon Craigslists about some guy needing to get rid of some old dishes. Just out of nowhere. We hadn’t been talking about my lack of dishes for weeks but apparently she decided to keep an eye on my local Craigslist for me. So on Friday I ended up driving to Springfield, Oregon and got myself a rather large box of mismatched plates, glasses, SILVERWARE (I was tired of using plastic silverware. Hi murd0c.), icecube trays and other miscellaneous kitchen items. This is a very nice change from the paper plates and plastic forks we’ve been using. I didn’t want to buy any of that stuff since I’ll have my old kitchen stuff back hopefully next summer. Anyway, THANKS JAMMIE! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that!

Today is Lazy Sunday. The kids are still in pajamas. This morning Payton and I played Hangman. Which is always fun with a first grader that doesn’t spell very good yet. Emily and I watched Just Like Heaven which was really good. Last night we watched the 1933 version of King Kong which was pretty much exactly like the 2006 version of it. The special effects were really impressive, considering they were done in 1933. The DVD had tons of cool extras. I’m going to watch some more of it today.

Walked to the 12th street park yesterday, then to Dari Mart for snacks. The kids recorded their own radio show on my computer last night. And then, completely without any prompting from me, Emily said I should put it on the internet so everyone would hear it. So I dunno, maybe I’ll set up an RSS for that later. I’m not sure if the world is ready for an exclusive interview with Payton. That reminds me – Emily made some really kickass stop-motion Lego animations a couple weekends ago. I was going to help her add sound effects to it and edit it a little but I forgot.

Hrmmmm, what else. Oh yeah, the weather is kicking ass the past couple days. No rain at all and the last 2 days it’s been in the upper 50’s. The lady at the bank assured me last week that Oregon makes up for all the rainy days with really great Springs. So hopefully that’s on it’s way. But it’s nice that the nonstop 4 month rain has finally stopped.

*points and laughs at all you on the east coast with 2 feet of snow*

Actually, I wish we could have 2 feet of snow. There hasn’t been any here this year.

UPDATE: Just minutes after posting all that, Jammie sent me the following picture message which I think ties in perfectly with at least two parts of my ranting…

9:48pm – That annoying low frequency humming sound coming from the direction of the hospital really needs to stop. Every night, from 9ish until I’m asleep. What the hell is it? The kids don’t complain about it. Maybe only I can hear it. I just started really noticing it last week.

We went for another walk today. To the park on Caloopia. Stayed there awhile, reading. Then we walked towards downtown, admired some kind of dam and waterfall thing, noticed a park off in the distance and walked towards it only to find that the entire park was completely under water. There was a playground area and a picnic shelter which looked like it was under at least a foot of water. It was the size of a small lake. Bryant Park.


Dec. 9th, 2005|07:47 pm: Emily is student of the month! I went to an assembly this morning where she and a few other students accepted their awards. I’ve never seen Emily so worried about how she looks. Last night she had clothes layed out, ready to wear to accept her award. And this morning she was completely patient while I brushed her hair, which is pretty unusual. She mentioned how much she hated walking up there in front of everyone. (She was student of the month last year too.) As we were getting ready to leave, she wanted to change her mind about the clothes she was wearing. I told her no way, we were leaving. The award thing was fun, I got some pictures and went home. And I finally got to meet both of their teachers.

Bob came over with a dresser for the kids and a couple of bikes, which was really nice. I’d planned to buy them bikes this Spring but I guess now I don’t have to. They really needed a dresser too. Now I just need to find them beds and get a dresser for myself.

At lunch time, I went back to the school and had lunch with Emily. Since she’s student of the month, she gets to have a parent have lunch with her. Plus she got to eat ice cream in front of a lot of jealous classmates, which she shared with me. Payton’s teacher saw me there so he let Payton out of class so he could sit with us during lunch. Then I hung out with Emily for recess. When I left, Payton was having lunch so I said goodbye to him before leaving. The whole school experience was really fun. Payton’s teacher told me that Payton acts middle-aged in the way he speaks to everyone. I guess he means by Payton’s impatient and snappy remarks.

Today Jammie is coming to visit me from New York again. Right now I’m sitting in the Portland airport, just killing time. Jammie thinks I’m insane for arriving at the airport seven hours before her plane gets here. I just wanted to get out of the house for awhile, though. I was going to take a train from here into Portland and find something to do. Instead I had supper at Wendy’s and I’ve been typing on my laptop ever since then. I just finished taking a break to visit a few of the shops in the airport, then fixed some major security issues on from the new Shoutbox I put up. Only 3.5 hours until Jammie arrives!

The carpet in this airport hasn’t changed in over 11 years. I should know since I used to live here and got to know the carpet quite well from sleeping on it and sitting on it for days, typing away at my laptop for hours at a time. I wonder if the new parts of the airport have the same hideous pattern. It sucks that they only let ticketed passengers past the checkpoints anymore. A lot of the coolest stuff is past the checkpoints. Anyway, it’s ugly-ass carpet.

A Few November Entries

Nov. 22nd, 2005|09:40 am: I was bored all day so I ended up picking up the kids from their after-school thing about 30 minutes earlier than normal. Speaking of that place, it’s pure madness there. A thousand wild kids running all over the place with only a handful of high school aged kids keeping an eye on them all and a few random adults scattered around. They were doing some kind of Thanksgiving feast and the kids really wanted to stay for that, but we had to wait for it to start so we sat down at a table and played dominoes for 30 minutes. Then went to the gym for the feast – turkey, corn, mashed potatoes, milk, pumpkin pie and a few other random things I couldn’t identify. So even if I’m going to be completely bored this Thanksgiving, at least I got a small thanksgiving feast!

Came home, did homework, ate, played video games/Legos. I think the thing I’ve missed most about having my kids for the past year and a half is not being able to do homework with them. Even though I had them on all the holidays, I never got to do any homework with them during all that time. It’s even more fun now than it used to be since Emily’s homework is getting more advanced. I’m going to be screwed once they get into high school and start surpassing my own knowledge.

I built a really cool Lego windmill. It towers about 4 times as high as the rest of the buildings in their Lego town and it spins on it’s own, powered by battery. I built an identical tower next to it with a shaft between the two which spins a bunch of random gears on the front of the 2nd tower while the windmill is running. I asked Payton if it was an okay Windmill. He responded, “Are you KIDDING?? This is the best windmill I’ve ever SEEN!”

Nov. 22nd, 2005|01:59 pm: I’m in a parade picture! I was scrolling through all of these pics, looking for the kids and I end up finding myself, walking alongside the float as I talk to Payton…

Hopefully zoomshare allows hotlinking, but probably not.

I got DSL yesterday and it rocks. 7mbps – my cable in Illinois was a mere 3mbps. Not that it really matters. I think once I hit 256kbps or so, I stop noticing much difference. But at least now I’m more likely to be able to talk on my Vonage line and download stuff from Bittorrent at the same time. It sure beats the approximate 20kbps I’ve been getting through my cell phone connection for the past 3 weeks.

I also moved everything from my laptop to the desktop computer, which is much faster. All this speed is crazy! It’s so nice to have my Launchcast back, especially since I don’t have a radio in the house, except for my clock radio.

Nov. 24th, 2005|09:31 am:

Convenience store girl: Looks like you’re getting a little pre-Thanksgiving snack!
Me: Actually this is the entire Thanksgiving feast here!
Convenience store girl: ….. Oh.

Thanksgiving feast

So far the appetizer (Nutter Butters and milk) is delicious!

Nov. 26th, 2005|08:29 pm: Went to see Harry Potter 4 this morning. The kids had already seen it but I hadn’t. Definitely the best one so far. Before the movie we went to Goodwill and got some kitchen stuff – a toaster, bowls, a lamp, some glasses, etc. I still need pots but they didn’t have any that I wanted. This afternoon we went to downtown Albany for a Christmas parade but since the Albany Visitors Association doesn’t bother updating the times in the brochures that you get from the visitors center, we missed it by 2 hours. But we got there in time for the Christmas tree lighting.

Lit candles, sang Christmas carols, lit the tree, walked around the mall for awhile, visited an art show, stopped by the Book Bin to pet the cats, went to a magic store, came home and played tons of Ratchet & Clank. We’ve all become addicted to that game again.

Before the Christmas tree lighting And it’s lit Weird electrical box sculptures Cat & kids

In other news, my new camera phone sure seems to take really great pictures. Oh yeah, I finally finished that Mark Twain bio that I started over a month ago. And I started on War of the Worlds. Pretty amazing book, considering it was written in the late 1800’s.

Nov. 26th, 2005|09:02 pm:

Two things I seem to see a lot of in Albany so far, aside from rain and fog – dogs in the back of trucks and rampant CB use. There’s actually a place called “CB World” here. And so far I’ve seen two different trucks that have stickers in their back windows, displaying which CB channel they hang out on. To still be a CB enthusiast just seems…weird to me. Not that I have any room to talk about being weird. But the last time I saw a truck or car advertising the driver’s CB channel was in 1996 – when I lived in Albany.

And I think having your dog in the back of your truck is usually illegal, isn’t it? It must not be around here because I see a lot of it. In the picture above, it was freezing out and the dog was pacing the truck, it’d lay down for a second, then get up again and pace some more. I think it was just too cold to lay down. Poor guy.

Nov. 3rd, 2005|10:50 am: Worked all day, then picked up the kids from school. We went to my motel and hung out for a few minutes. Emily asked which room I was in when we pulled up and I told her. Then she tells me which room number I was in over Spring Break and which room I was in when I got them for Christmas. They argued where to eat for awhile and finally decided on Arby’s. I wasn’t sure where it was so we drove around town for awhile until we spotted it. Then we went by Target to see if the new Xbox 360 was out yet so we could try the demos. It wasn’t. Went to the mall for awhile and played in Radio Shack and then a video game store. Back to the motel for 30 minutes or so to watch The Simpsons and do homework. Took them to their grandma’s house at 6:30pm. Overall, it was a very successful first official day with my kids.

While I was at the mall, I spotted some Verizon cell phones and decided to go back and look at them after I dropped the kids off. I ended up getting a new cell phone with Verizon since the T-Mobile coverage in Albany is completely unbearable. Only problem is that this new phone doesn’t offer bluetooth internet to my laptop computer, even though the sales guy assured me that it would work. I could take it back, but I really need Verizon in this town. Plus Verizon works much better in Idaho. I might just keep the internet plan on my T-Mobile phone. Sucks, though, because now I can’t sell my old T-Mobile phone on Ebay.

Moving & Kids

Oct. 25th, 2005|11:02 pm: Today I borrowed Joe’s truck and moved my washer & dryer into storage. Managed to get them up the basement stairs, up into a truck, then into my storage space. By myself. Those fuckers are heavy. I can’t believe I’ve managed to fit my entire house into a 10×10 storage unit with no help from anyone, one carload at a time. All I have left to get rid of is my bed and the recliner, then pack up all my office stuff which is mostly sitting on an old dining room table that I’ll be throwing in the trash. This house is empty. Every time I open up a room and go in, I’m hit in the face with cobwebs.

Spent some time at Joe & Stephanie’s and he showed me his hacked X-Box with all the games built into it. I tried doing that to my X-Box years ago and it never worked. I suck. Having all their kids running all over the place and talking to me (there was 5 of them) really made me miss my own. I can’t wait to get to Oregon. I’m pretty sure I’m leaving this weekend. I called up Emily and Payton and talked to them for over an hour and they seem pretty excited about me getting there. Payton lost teeth this week, Emily told me all about spelling tests and book reports. I can’t believe I’ve allowed myself to miss an entire year of my own kids. Fucking Colleen.

Taking the kids back to Oregon

Friday, September 2nd, 2005: Took the kids to Kristine’s today and said all our goodbyes. Then went to my parents and back home. Finished up our packing, went to Richard & Shirley’s to say a few more goodbyes. Tomorrow I take the kids back to Oregon.

Saturday, September 3rd, 2005: This morning I woke up at 5:30am (my alarm was set for 6am but I always wake up before the alarm goes off), got the kids ready and my brother drove us to the airport. Today summer is officially over – they go back to Oregon for school. Had a pretty eventless 2 flights with a short layover in Salt Lake City. Payton’s quote of the day, as he was throwing a paper towel into the trash: “They should just put portals in the bottom of the trash cans that lead to the dump.”

Layover in Salt Lake City Emily playing Gameboy on the plane

Now I’m stuck in Portland, Oregon for 24 hours with no kids and nothing planned. I contacted my birth dad, Jack, earlier this week and said I’d try to meet him at Saturday Market in downtown if I could find him. So right now I’m on the train, heading towards downtown. If I don’t find him I’ll probably track down Heywood or something. And damn, these trains have really come a long way since I lived here 10 years ago. It used to be just a straight line from Gresham to downtown. Now they cover half the city. It’s nice. And best of all, I can use the internet while I’m on the train. Unlike NYC where the internet and cell phones don’t seem to work too well since it’s mostly underground. Hmmmm, what else can I rant about until I get there. The lightrail’s ticket machine ripped me off. I bought a $3.75 ticket but it only gave me back $1.00 in change. In the form of a Susan B. Anthony coin, of all things. Hey, we’re at NE 82nd Street. I used to live at this stop.

Sunday, September 4th, 2005: I’m now sitting in the PDX airport, waiting for my flight to my layover in Seattle. I’ll have an hour there, then on to St. Louis. Yesterday, after my entry, I ended up at Portland’s Saturday market and spent about 30 minutes walking around the market and looking for Jack. My cell phone rings and I see a call from “Private.” Since those are rare on my cell phone I’m a little wary about who it is. The conversation goes something like this:

“Hello, is this Brad?”
“I thought I’d reached Brad’s number”
“Is this 618-xxx-xxxx?”
“Okay, I must have misdialed!”

I have no clue who it could have been. Then I cross the street and I spot Jack at a pay phone. It was him! And it looks like he’s trying to call me back. We walk around for a bit and then end up going to a nearby bar to share a pitcher of beer. Do some more walking around, help tear down one of the booths at the market and eventually we end up in the same bar again and share yet another pitcher of beer. For some reason, a lot of the evening seems blurry now, but I remember lots of walking around, introductions, train rides, bus rides, dinner somewhere in Northeast Portland (and another glass of beer) and then we retired for the night in a large garden shed which he sleeps in a few nights a week (some arrangement with the owner).

This morning we woke up around 7am, stopped for coffee/Pepsi and went back to the market. Set up a few booths and then left for lunch around 10:30. I forget the name of the place but it seemed to be some kind of organic grocery store/sandwhich shop. After that we visited Dignity Village which I’ve never actually gotten a proper tour of even though I’ve visited it a couple of short times in the past year.

I remember in 1994, while living in Portland, being surprised by the large number of homeless people in Portland and the large number of homeless shelters. Dignity Village adds a whole new level of surprised for me. The place is impressive! They’ve evolved from a homeless city with tents into a homeless city with actual houses (mostly room-sized houses) for most of the residents. There’s a huge common room with lots of couches and a TV, a store with donated goods, a computer room, kitchen, showers, gardens, a library. They’ve erected a turbine hooked up to a bunch of batteries which I guess isn’t working yet but is being worked on. Houses are under construction and going up everywhere, even being worked on as we walked around the city. There are piles of donated, organized wood and other building materials everywhere. If I were ever going to be homeless again, apparently I would be homeless in style. Not that I was one to ever use homeless facilities very often. I didn’t take any pictures but I found some here with a Google search.

After Dignity, we rode the bus to Llyod Center, said goodbye to Jack and took the lightrail back to the airport. And here I am, getting ready to board a tiny propeller plane.

Update: Made it to STL alive, my brother took me home and now I’m waiting for Jammie to call me. The flight attendent said on the intercom as we were taxiing, “You may now resume use of cell phones and pagers but the use of other electronic devices is still prohibited.” I don’t know if that was an attempt at humor or if she just needed some sleep. Or maybe I’m missing something. Anyway, hurry up phone RING.

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